Can a father get child custody?
The 1979 film, “Kramer vs Kramer” told the story of a father who sues for custody of his young son after his wife abandons the family to find herself. The film garnered an Oscar and inspired much discussion about parental rights and whether or not a father should ever be the primary parent. Over 40 years later, many people still think that a woman is always a better parent than a man.
Custody laws in the U.S.
All states have their own custody laws. Many states have begun to refer to child custody as parental sharing or some similar phrasing. In these states, parents are often asked to draft a parental sharing plan to the courts. If the parental sharing plan does not clearly demonstrate that it’s in the best interest of the child or children, it will not be approved by the court. For instance, a parental sharing plan that involves so many child exchanges throughout the week that the child could not possibly establish a stable home environment would likely be rejected.
The courts will often look at factors such as school schedule, the age of the child, and the distance between the two parents’ homes. If they live far apart, it would make sense to have a schedule that involved fewer exchanges. Similarly, if one parent lives near the child’s school but the other doesn’t, that’s a strong argument for having the child remain close to the school during the week.
What are the different kinds of custody?
If a child’s parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, a Friend of the Court will listen to each parent’s arguments and make a recommendation to a judge. The judge will ultimately decide what the arrangement will be. Normally, one parent will have physical custody and live with the child and the other parent will pay child support, have visitation rights, and be involved in important decisions. Sometimes parents will take turns having custody of a child.
Sole custody is given to a parent when the other parent is deemed unfit by the court, is nowhere to be found, or is deceased. The state will normally use a DNA test to determine the father of the child.
Determining who gets physical custody
Although children will normally live with their mother in the case of a divorce, the best interests of the child are always the court’s priority. They look at who has the most stable income and the most steady work schedule of the two parents. They will also take such things as a criminal record into account when determining who the physical parents should be. If a child requests to live with one parent, that will be taken into consideration as well.
Finding a lawyer
If you are getting a divorce and you have children, it is very important to hire a child custody lawyer. Even if the divorce is amicable, an attorney can help you fill out paperwork and they can be an objective third-party in making decisions about the arrangement.
If you are not married but want to claim the paternity of a child, an attorney can assist you with obtaining a DNA test and obtaining visitation rights.
Having children is one of life’s greatest privileges. You should never let anyone cheat you out of that experience.
Story by Michael Davis